Music Reviews

Review: "Blame It on Baby" Proves DaBaby Is a One-Trick Pony

The rappers third outing rarely ventures into new territory

When DaBaby's debut project dropped in March of last year, the Charlotte rapper was one of the most talked-about talents in Hip-Hop.

Tough as a wrecking ball, his spit-fire lyricism decimated everything in sight with laser-focused precision. "Suge" was a particular standout. Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, spit callous phrases about violence and sex with the sincerity of a pastor. As a result, his fans are devoted, they memorize the emcees every word as if it's religious scripture. He also offered fans comedic relief. He appeared at 2017's SXSW wearing nothing but a diaper, and during a performance at 2019's Rolling Loud, he threw bags of fake weed into the audience just for kicks. His music videos were equally juvenile. In "Babysitter," DaBaby and Offset, under the guise of a late 90s family sitcom, loosely star as irresponsible children who try to have sex with their new babysitter.


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MUSIC

Kim Gordon Knows the "Recipe for a Better Future" in New Bernie Sanders PSA

The Sonic Youth founding member shared a parody cooking video that puts a fun spin on feeling the Bern.

Bernie Sanders and popular musicians pretty much go hand-in-hand at this point.

The senator's events have played host to a growing list of musical artists lately; indie darlings like Soccer Mommy and Lucy Dacus have opened for his rallies, as well as established bands like Vampire Weekend and the Strokes. If they're not sharing the stage with Bernie, musicians are likely otherwise endorsing him: Ariana Grande and Cardi B have both hung out with the presidential hopeful, and countless others have shared their support.

Among the notable names in music who are feeling the Bern is Kim Gordon, a founding member of the band Sonic Youth, who released her first solo record last year. Over the past few months, Gordon's Instagram has become saturated with her Sanders support, and she's not slowing down.

Last night, Gordon shared a video from her kitchen to help Democratic voters who still might be on the fence this Super Tuesday. "Want a recipe for a better future? Watch to find out," she captioned the post. In a clip titled What's Cooking America? With Kim Gordon, the rock legend put "ingredients"—Medicare for All, student debt forgiveness, women's rights, and much more—into a bowl, mixing them together to create a colorful goo. After pouring it into a Pyrex and letting it bake, Gordon whipped out a perfectly-frosted cake with Bernie's name written on top. "Vote for Bernie," Gordon urges at the end, letting you know which states need to get out and vote this Super Tuesday.

If you live in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, or you're a Democrat abroad, get out and vote!

Watch the video below:

CULTURE

11 Spongebob Memes to Help You Survive Super Tuesday

Mike Bloomberg is finally on the ballots, and that's not even the worst part

So the chaos we've been waiting for is finally upon us.

Today 14 states will be voting for nominees, and more than 1,300 pledged delegates will be awarded—compared to the 155 that have been distributed so far. California and Texas will both be voting, and their huge delegate counts could be what tips the scales toward one clear frontrunner. Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both dropped at the last minute—triggering an avalanche of endorsements for Joe Biden—and people who don't know any better will finally have a chance to cast a ballot for Mike Bloomberg. While rational debate and discussion of major issues like health care and climate change are obviously valuable, the insanity that tonight's results are going to bring calls for a different style of communication: Spongebob Squarepants memes.

After weeks of scouring the Internet, we have discovered the best Spongebob memes for every Super Tuesday situation you're likely to encounter.

For your friend who doesn't pay any attention to politics

super tuesday patrick

For your friends who get all their political insights from TV ads

mike bloomberg handsome ugly squidward

For your parents when they say they would consider voting for Bernie Sanders

medicare for all boomer

For your MAGA relatives who think there's nothing wrong with private health insurance

For your friends who supported Amy and Mayor Pete and aren't sure who to vote for

Patrick push centrists to the left

For your friend who keeps reminding you that Tulsi Gabbard is still running

Tulsi snobody cares

For your friend who is ride-or-die for Elizabeth Warren

elizabeth warren tough

For your friend who insists that no one is being harassed by "Bernie bros"

bernie bro harassment

For your friend who still misses Kamala Harris

kamala stans khive

For your friend who still misses Andrew Yang

yang gang

For the moment you realize Michael Bloomberg is actually going to win some delegates

bloomberg for billionaires

Buckle up...

MUSIC

DaBaby Charms on "Kirk," but He's Afraid to Get Serious

The rapper's sophomore album is DaBaby doing what he does best, being fun and hilarious.

"Friends are like the autumn, every year they leavin," Charlottesville rapper DaBaby says on Post Malone's "Enemies," "and 'imma rake 'em in a pile, throw 'em in a bag, tie them b*tches, up and leave 'em."

DaBaby - Intro (official music video) www.youtube.com

This verse is an embodiment of what makes Jonathan Lyndale Kirk such an anomalous rapper. On one hand, he is extremely brutish and tough, having been involved in two extremely violent disputes over the last year. He is also charismatic, a natural-born storyteller known for his electrifying songs. DaBaby has developed an uncanny ability to combine humorous anecdotes with poignant self-awareness, all with the bravado and precision of a veteran emcee. His interviews are no different; he captivated the usually manic and talkative hosts of The Breakfast Club with stories of his antics, all while pausing to make jokes and keep the mood light. He is an unusual yet welcome addition to a genre bloated with copy cats, and he's the perfect rapper for this age of short attention spans. In one moment, he's describing how he unknowingly witnessed his girlfriend's mother masturbating to a picture of him, then in a flip of a switch, he's preaching about the legacy of his dead father.


While the cover art for KIRK and the intro track both implied that the album would be a shift towards more poignant lyricism and feature less goofing around, the rapper's sophomore album is primarily just more of the latter. As charming as they are, a majority of the songs cover the usual braggadocious themes of hip-hop. DaBaby rarely ever leaves his comfort zone, but that doesn't mean the album doesn't make for a satisfying listen. "POP STAR" features a refreshed and revitalized Kevin Gates—whose daring sophomore album also dropped today—and has the makings of a Billboard hit. "iPHONE," featuring a newly-retired Nicki Minaj, is equally as appealing for hip-hop radio, while "BOP," "VIBEZ," and "PROLLY HEARD" are all nice additions to the DaBaby discography, offering witty lyricism and relentless swagger, ("these n*****, they lactose-intolerant, b*tch, I'm married to cheese, no divorcin',") but not much else in way of complex thematic material.

Yet DaBaby shows that impressive lyrical chops are in his wheelhouse if he wants to access them. "GOSPEL," the only other song besides "INTRO" to delve into new waters for the rapper, is earnest and genuine. It serves as a moment of reflection for the emcee, who has been on an unstoppable tear since the beginning of the year. "I ain't had time to think, I ain't had time to breathe," he raps. But a moment is all he needs before DaBaby is back on his bullsh*t, and that has always been the appeal. It's unclear what we can expect next from "The Baby," but for now, it's easy to continue to enjoy the ride.

KIRK

MUSIC

EARTHGANG Struggles with Fame on "Mirrorland"

The duo gets vulnerable on their newest release.

There has always been something ethereal about EARTHGANG.

EarthGang - Up | A COLORS SHOW www.youtube.com

Buzzing off the success of their impressive debut mixtape, Shallow Graves For Toys, the Atlanta duo's 2015 follow-up, Stray's With Rabies, glued itself to the back of rap's subconscious. It was easy to draw comparisons to OutKast and The Pharcyde, and, thematically, the duo brought a unique and unsettling exploration of the culture of the outer fringes of Atlanta. "Your mind still kinda childish, but you pushin' 6 feet, so mommy's daddy put the shotty to your face at 16," Doctor Dot warbles on "A.W.O.L." as he describes his mom's boyfriend putting a loaded shotgun in his face at 16.

Alternating between stark observations ("I been around killas and good n***** who live independent, the only difference is the depth of your vision") and spoken word poetry ("I'm America's freaky little fantasy, I'm society's dirty obsession, cuz my eyes seeing what the world can't"), EARTHGANG was of a different breed in the over-saturated Atlanta rap scene. Their work caught the attention of J. Cole, who quickly signed them to his astute Dreamville label in 2017 before plastering them all over Revenge of The Dreamers III. The vocal flourishes of Johnny Venus brought diaphanous energy to everything he touched, while Doctor Dot served as the equalizer—with his vibrato and delivery being more in line with an Atlanta hip-hop purist—and perfectly contrasting Venus's unwavering experimentation. Then, their steady momentum suddenly exploded, EARTHGANG became one of 2019's most lauded duos, and their debut, Mirrorland, was one of rap's most highly anticipated fall releases.

"3 a.m. the only time that I can hear myself think," Doctor Dot raps on "This Side." "Why is every waking moment feeling more like a dream?" Mirrorland shows the duo in complete disbelief. They're famous now, at least by rap standards, but does that make them sellouts? "Sometimes I get overwhelmed," Venus admits earlier on "This Side." "I'm in, in over my head, put my life online for sale." Mirrorland, which was inspired by The Wiz, describes the journey to find creative authenticity in the age of quick fame via Tik Tok and streaming. "I got wants, I got needs, I got PTSD," Doctor Dot says almost hysterically on "Avenue." "I got suicidal thoughts beneath these masked fantasies."

"How's your mental? How do you cope with what you been through?" a lover asks Doctor Dot on "Top Down," to which he has no answer. Yet EARTHGANG is happy to share their faults with us. They view their indiscretions as strengths, not weaknesses. "Cause I'm lost don't mean you found," Venus reminds the skeptics on "LaLa Challenge." The duo is no doubt caught in a crisis of faith, with the album title itself indicative of a state of reflection. How can you maintain your humility and creative independence without losing yourself to fame? "I pray for the hunger to be permanent, no matter what that make" Doctor Dot raps on "Swivel." The appeal of EARTHGANG will forever be their authenticity. Now they just need to figure out where to take it.

Mirrorland

CLTure

Little Brother's improbable 5th album came as a surprise release last night.

During a recent appearance on The Breakfast Club, Rapper Big Pooh was asked about the status of Little Brother. In their first performance in 13 years, the act had just performed last-minute at the Art Of Cool festival in their hometown of Durham, North Carolina. Needless to say, the performance kicked off buzz about a possible reunion. "[The performance] forced all three of us to have the conversations we didn't have prior," Pooh said. "We all needed to mature in our communication."

May The Lord Watch, is a testament to that conversation. The duo adamantly commemorates their growth since 2010, but the project flourishes when each emcee admits to the personal shortcomings that have plagued them over the years. "I laid in my bed and thought about everything," Phonte raps on "Everything." "The house, the kids the wedding rings, the inner peace that I've never seen." On "What I Came For," Rapper Big Pooh says, "Enduring the test of time is an attribute," adding ferocious wordplay, "I put my rep on the line every time I design a new rhyme."

Perhaps that's why May The Lord Watch sounds and feels like a tight-knit LB record from the days of yore. The duo tweaked and resurrected their "UBN" skits from The Minstrel Show. "Tell me how to get back to the feel again," they sing on the album's opener. It's clear the duo pines for simpler times, but at the same time they admit: "Listen, ain't too much changed, we all gotta go through things."

The record doesn't paint itself as a comeback so much as a continuation. Both emcees sound as charismatic as ever, and while 9th Wonder's absence is notable, the production is in line with the boom-bap flavor Little Brother is known for. The record serves as a nostalgic trip down memory lane, for both listeners and LB. "Now I'm on Instagram, damn, they havin a ball. That was me once upon a time," Rapper Big Pooh says on "Sittin Alone." "Now I'm happy to fall fast asleep, sound of rain on repeat."

May The Lord Watch isn't a grandiose announcement or a demonstration that each emcee can still rap; both Phonte and Pooh know the latter to be true. In a time when pandering to nostalgia is all too common, it's refreshingly clear that Little Brother's 5th record was crafted organically and without any agenda other than to give fans new music. "Might not come when you want it, but it's right on time," they rap. "One trick ponies don't get a second act."